Felipe Samaniego Laboratory
Felipe Samaniego, M.D.
- Lymphoma Research
The Samaniego Lab is dedicated to advancing therapy for lymphoma.
Our mission is bring the best treatments to patients with lymphoma. Our laboratory at MD Anderson has been introducing new therapies for patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center. These new treatments selectively attack and block mutated genes present exclusively in cancer cells. To accomplish these goals we have ongoing project pursuing these ideas and some will successfully show how they will impact on therapy of lymphomas.
We are actively investigating the biology that becomes derange and drives lymphoma growth. We have identified markers that predict who from a group of patients will benefit from therapy. These markers are used to personalize therapy according to each type of lymphoma. With over 20 different types of lymphoma, we plan to identify the best treatment type and personalized the treatment of each individual patient.
As we carry out this medical research we are at the same time providing education and further training for young scientists. Trainees from our laboratory have gone forward to hold key positions at medical centers and biotech companies throughout the world. We continue to recruit young talent to MD Anderson Cancer Center where they can hone their skills and then advance their careers as cancer investigators.
Our Research Highlights
Even though R-CHOP chemotherapy is lifesaving therapy for some lymphomas a complication of this therapy is the development leukemia. We have found that individuals who develop therapy related leukemia are often predisposed to leukemia by having certain mutated genes present even before chemotherapy is administered. Our current research aims to identify those who are predisposed to leukemia so we can select alternative therapies for these unfortunate patients.
Cancer Stem cells operate like queen bees
Our team of scientists has found that not all lymphoma cells in a tumor are the same. Tumors contain a few cells that have unique properties that allow the cells to regrow a whole tumor. These are stem cells and despite therapy, stem cells manage to survive, proliferate and become the source of relapse tumors. The role of stem is similar to the relationship of a queen bee and the worker bees in a beehive. If we find a way to kill the queen bee, we will have shut off the sole source of new bees and eliminate the colony. In the same way, our research is identifying how to best kill lymphoma stem cells, the source of lymphoma cells. By learning the biology of stem cells, we will identify vulnerable sites for effective killing.
Development of resistance is expected for patients who are on targeted therapies
We find that ibrutinib lose its effectiveness on lymphoma cells. The lymphoma cells that develop resistance stops responding to ibrutinib by replacement proliferation signals. We have identified these new proliferation signals in ibrutinib-resistant cells. We are testing original approaches to target the new proliferation signals and intend to have a candidate drug which will work in patients who develop resistance to ibrutinib.. We anticipate the need of this patients and research now will allow us to offer a drug when the resistant develops.
Identifying therapies with enhanced performance in combination
We are a translational research laboratory. We take findings in science and develop ways apply better treatments for cancer. Our recent results (Sehgal, Leukemia PMID: 24811343)) reveal new therapeutic targets in lymphomas. We have shown that a 3 drug combination produces high and sustained remission rates in patients with lymphoma (Samaniego F,. Br J Haematol, PMID: 25828695) We are identifying proteins in lymphoma cells that make cells resistant to therapy this knowledge offers insights into improving effectiveness of drug therapy (Neeraj, AACR , 2017 ).
We are deeply indebted to past and present supporters who have empowered our team with direct support to our laboratory through tax exempt gifts. We have had the great fortune of seeing previously lymphomas having no effectively therapy now become successfully managed due in part to clinical trials at our center that led the way to approved therapies such as Rituxan. Donors have empowered themselves and us to do something about cancer and invest to improve treatment of patients. Often the gifts to support cancer research may start at a small scale that show preliminary results which are important to secure larger grants to complete the project. We thank you for your support. Dr. Felipe Samaniego, email@example.com
Clinical trials are a method for us to offer new therapies to patients. The Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma has numerous new drugs, including antibodies and immune therapies boosting the immune system and use of drugs directly blocking growth signals. In one clinic trial we are using a novel combination of Pembrolizumab and ACP-196. This combination has shown to extend the lives of patient who were not able to tolerate other chemotherapy regimens.